GROTON — The town Zoning Commission rejected by a 3-2 vote Oct. 3, 2007, a proposed zoning amendment that would have allowed for floating mixed-use residential/commercial zones in four development “nodes” identified in the 2002 Plan of Conservation and Development.
Voting to reject were Chairman Stephen Hudecek, Mariellen French and Sue Sutherland. Voting in favor were Robert O’Neill and Richard Haviland. The vote came after Mr. O’Neill moved to close off discussion. His subsequent request to nay-voters to reconsider was unsuccessful.
The floating zone had been proposed by L&L Groton LLC, which would like to build a mixed-use development on 33 acres near the corner of Routes 184 and 117. The floating zone amendment proposal on June 26, 2007, had received unanimous but conditional approval from the Planning Commission, which has a significant advisory role in the process of zoning amendments.
Originally, the applicant had sought an amendment to allow the floating zone to “land” in eight development nodes and in the little-developed Industrial Park zones, which comprise nearly 1,200 acres. The proposal later was slimmed down to four nodes, with the industrial park being excluded.
Besides the node at Routes 184 and 117, the other nodes that would have been affected are located around: Route 12 at the sub base, downtown Groton, and Route 12 near its crossing by I-95.
Chairman Hudecek said he didn’t oppose mixed-use zones. He said, “There are plenty of places I could envision it. But there’s a lot of leeway in this regulation as written… I believe it permits bad projects.”
Mr. O’Neill said opposition to the amendment seemed to be based on lack of trust in the competence and good will of present and future commissions. He asked whether opponents thought “morons” would comprise the commission in the future.
Ms. French also said she didn’t oppose the concept of floating zones but she wanted a provision to set aside open space and she said that the floating zone question should be considered as part of a forthcoming rewrite of land-use regulations in Groton. Ms. Sutherland said she was concerned about extension of floating zone regulations into areas adjacent to the nodes.
Town Councilor Frank “Mick” O’Beirne attended the meeting. He has opposed the amendment, contending it would place too much power in a small land-use board.